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Friday, 16 June 2017

MISSGUIDED SUMMER DRESS EDIT

Being the online shopping addict that I am, I've come across heaps of gorgeous dresses that are perfect for summer in the past few weeks and thought it would be a good idea to pick out my favourites for a post.

In the past I haven't been a huge fan of dresses, however I find that nowadays, the second that summer comes along, I go out and buy as many pretty - yet still comfortable - dresses as I can get my hands on. I've always found that Missguided is the best place to buy dresses; their website is very purse-friendly and I've always found my dresses from there to be of a high quality. Price is an important factor for me, as I don't like to spend too much on items that I will only be able to wear during a couple of months of the year. All of the dresses in this post are from Missguided and they are all £30 or under - links are included!

PURE AND SIMPLE



If it weren't for the fact that I am notoriously clumsy when it comes to eating food, I would have so many more white dresses in my wardrobe; the thought of buying a pretty white dress only for it to be ruined by spilled pasta sauce or ketchup horrifies me. However, if you can control your eating (unlike me!), I think white dresses are perfect for the summer because they look amazing with a tan! The White Tie Detail Shift Dress (£25) is gorgeous and I love the detailing on the sleeves of this Cheesecloth Crochet Bardot Dress (£30). 


OFF THE SHOULDER



Off the shoulder dresses and tops really seem to be having their moment right now. At first, I wasn't really sure how I felt about them, but I couldn't resist these two dresses. I think that both the Yellow Floral Print Tea Dress and the Polka Dot Tea Dress (both £25) are unbelievably cute, especially with the ruffled detailing on the sleeves and around the neckline. 


LADY IN RED



I've never really been a fan of wearing red, but in recent months I've been warming to red garments and accessories more often - there's just something about this colour that screams summer to me! I'm also loving floral prints, so as soon as I saw these dresses I knew I had to include them in this post. I think that the lace-up front on the Floral Skater Dress (£25) adds an extra something and I absolutely love the ruffle hem on the Floral Mini Dress (£28). 

ALL ABOUT THE FRILLS


You may have noticed that a common theme that runs through this post is frills. I think that ruffles in the right places can make clothes so flattering and think they add a pretty touch to dresses in particular. This Grey Stripe Bardot Dress (£25) is ideal for whatever the occasion and I think the powder blue Cami Tea Dress (£22) would look lovely against a fresh tan.


Where is your favourite place to buy pretty summer dresses? Let me know in the comments x

Monday, 12 June 2017

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT YOUNG VOTERS

When I woke up on Friday 9th June to early reports that the voting turnout in 18-24 year-olds had risen to around 72%, up from 43% in the last General Election, I could not have felt more proud. To have so many young people interested in politics and looking for change made me happy to be a part of this demographic, no matter who these people voted for.

However, I feel that since then, this pride and happiness has been overshadowed by something else. The nasty, sour comments from some individuals (and I say *some* because I don't want to tar everyone with the same brush - I know most of you are decent people!) in the older generation who think it's okay to berate and belittle young voters for their choices.

I'm 19 years old and Thursday was my first opportunity to vote in a UK General Election. Much like in the EU referendum, I placed my vote with pride and I felt truly honoured to be in a position where I was able to vote for the future of my country, unlike the millions of people across the world who can't.

Ever since the election results began to trickle in, I have seen so many people saying on social media that young voters were 'bribed' by the supposedly false and impossible promise of the abolition of tuition fees. I urge these individuals to consider the fact that not every young person goes to university and that a large amount of voters in the 18-24 year-old category will have already been and left, meaning that this change wouldn't affect them. I might go to university in the future, I might not; no tuition fees sounds amazing, but at this moment in time, it does not personally affect me. If I choose to go to university, I will go whether I end up with £27,750 of debt or not - and yes, to all those out there who were privileged enough to go to university before fees were introduced, that is how much 3 years of tuition fees will cost, not to mention maintenance loans.

We were not bribed. We were not naive. We were not 'blinded by lies'. Quite frankly, I think anyone over a certain age who claims these things should be downright ashamed of themselves. To think that you can take the moral high ground because of your age is insulting and, rather ironically, very immature. You may have more 'worldly experience', of course, but that does not take away from the fact that the vast majority of young people are much more intelligent than you may believe. I think anyone making these statements wildly underestimates the autonomy of young people and their ability to make decisions for themselves.

No, I was not bribed. I knew who I was going to vote for without influence from anyone or anything, whether that was my parents, my friends or the media; nothing was going to swing my vote as far as I was concerned. I looked at the policies, I watched the debates, I witnessed the campaigns, I read the manifestos. I made my decision and I voted based on what I thought was right for our country.

I voted for hope in this world of doom and gloom. I voted for change. I voted for the NHS, for public services. I voted for the young, the old and everyone in between. I voted for excellent education for all, no matter their income. I voted for those in poverty. I voted for the disabled and those with mental health issues. And let's not forget the awful, shocking stories you hear of people dying either directly or indirectly as a result of welfare reforms. The list goes on, and on, and on. If you read this and think that it's nothing to do with you, that it's not your problem, then that's on your conscience and speaks volumes about you as a person. But my hope is that most decent people would read this and agree wholeheartedly.

I am not bashing anyone who voted differently to me; that was not the point of this post. The point of this post is that we must get rid of the hateful rhetoric that young people are less worthy and less capable. We are, after all, the future of this country. We do, after all, live in a democracy. I don't know whether it's down to pure bitterness or trying to hide the realisation that young people - who are LEGALLY eligible to vote, may I add - can really make a difference, but either way, it's simply unacceptable. In the past, young people have been ridiculed for not voting and now, we're being ridiculed for voting "wrongly". It's a classic case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Why alienate young people? Why patronise them and disrespect their personal views? It is not okay for anyone to say that older people don't deserve the right to vote because it 'isn't their future', so why has it suddenly become okay for people to do the same directed at young people, despite it actually being their future at stake? All I can say is that it truly baffles me; hypocrisy at it's absolute finest.

I want to end this on a positive note, because despite all of this, I am still so proud of my generation for turning up in their masses and voting for what they felt was right. I truly hope that this momentum and interest in politics continues; who knows, maybe the turnout will be even higher in the next election... whenever that may be!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

BIRCHBOX: FIRST IMPRESSIONS



Beauty subscription services are something that have been around for a while now, with Birchbox being one of the most well known. The only subscription service I've had before is Love Me Beauty, which I subscribed to for about 3-4 months at the end of last year. I loved the idea of getting credits each month and being able to pick out my own products from a fairly wide range. Within a few months, however, I became disenchanted with the whole experience; you knew exactly what was coming your way, which takes away from the excitement of it a bit in my eyes, not to mention that there was a constant repetition of products. A quick glance at their website confirms that 6 months after I cancelled my subscription, around 20% of the products available remain the same. This experience kind of put me off the whole idea of a beauty subscription box. However, after seeing a post on Facebook advertising that if you signed up to Birchbox, you would get two boxes for the price of one, I was intrigued to give it a go.

With this offer, I paid £12.95 for two boxes including postage, which I think is an excellent deal if you fancy trying the service out, even if you decided to cancel it afterwards. As part of the deal, I received April's box as well as May's.

April's Birchbox
May's Birchbox

When I received my package, I was quite surprised by how small it was as I had expected the boxes to be bigger. However, what they lack in size, they both definitely make up for in terms of design. Both boxes are absolutely lovely and sturdy enough to use as storage if you wanted to do so.







The contents of April's Birchbox

April's box was in collaboration with the online brand Boden. There are 5 products in both boxes and the range of products seems to be pretty good, with this box containing a hair product, a skincare product, a body lotion and two make-up items. The first product inside is the Luseta Beauty Keratin Smooth Conditioner, which claims to help strengthen hair, lock in moisture and boost elasticity. As I have fine hair that tends to get quite frizzy, I really like the sound of this product and it smells great. This 40ml tube retails at £5, with the full sized 500ml version retailing at £19.

Next up is the Polaar IcePure Gentle Scrub with Arctic Cotton. This is probably the product that I like the look of the most from this box; Arctic cotton is known for its moisturising properties and the scrub claims to soften the skin as well as exfoliate. The scent is really nice and I can tell just from putting a bit on the back of my hand that it's not an abrasive, harsh exfoliator. The full-sized 75ml version is £23.50 and this sample size is 25ml, which I think is quite generous. The other skincare item that you'll find in the April Birchbox is the Baïja Paris Crème Moana in the Fleur de Tiarè scent. In all honesty, this is probably my least favourite item in the box, which is a shame as I had high hopes. The packaging is absolutely gorgeous and the lotion itself does have a really nice consistency, however I find that the floral scent is far too overpowering for me - I sneezed when I opened it! However, I think it's lovely if floral scents are your thing. Again, it's a generous sample size at 30ml, as the full-sized 70ml tube retails for £15.90.

The last two items in the box are both full-sized beauty items, with the first being the ModelCo Eye Define Crayon Liner. Along with the face scrub, I'd say that this is my other favourite product in the box; it's a twist up eyeliner which saves the hassle of constantly having to sharpen it. It has a really fine nib which makes it perfect for really precise lines and from testing it on my hand, it glides on really easily. I can't say anything about the longevity, but I'm hoping it'll be a nice product to add to my collection. The final product in the shop is the Manna Kadar Cosmetics Radiance Split Pan Bronzer and Highlighter Duo, which is a product exclusive to Birchbox. To be honest, I thought this was an eyeshadow duo until I read the leaflet, as the compact seems far too small to be a bronzer and highlighter. The bronzer is so gold-toned and shimmery that I would never put it anywhere near my cheekbones, although I will say that I think the highlighter is lovely if you're looking for more of a subtle glow. This duo costs £17, which is really expensive in my opinion, especially considering the packaging is really cheap looking, not to mention difficult to open!


The contents of May's Birchbox

Much like the previous month's box, the May Birchbox contains a hair product, a skincare product, a body lotion and two make-up items; obviously I can't comment for sure, but I think this may be the standard Birchbox formula. The hair product included is the Beauty Protector Protect and Volume, which is a spray that 'increases volume without stickiness', adds 'beautiful shine without weight' and 'creates soft, smooth, full texture'. I'm not usually a big fan of haircare products like this as I find that they weigh my fine hair down, however I must admit I really like the sound of this one. It can also be used as a thermal protector for heat styling and is both Vegan and free from parabens. The packaging doesn't actually state how much product it contains, however the full-sized version contains 236ml and retails for £18.50.

My favourite item in this box is without a doubt the Doux Me Pure Spring Mist. I am a huge fan of these sprays as a way of cooling down your skin in the hot summer months; I love the Avène version and carried it around with me constantly last summer. What interests me about the Doux Me one in particular, however, is the fact that it also says that you can set your make-up with it for a dewy look. I can't wait to try it out and see if it works in this way! There are tonnes of negative reviews on the Birchbox website asking why they are giving away what is essentially water in a can; of course, it is a luxury, however I can attest that these sorts of products are highly refreshing and so, so handy when you're out and about. Unfortunately I can't seem to find it anywhere online, however if you want to check out the Avène one which I have tried, tested and loved, you can find it here. The other skincare item in the box is the Whish Rice Milk Firming Body Cream. Apparently, it 'smoothes blemishes' as well as firming and moisturising... I'm a little bit dubious about this claim! I've tried it on and in all honesty, I don't really like it. It leaves an odd feeling, tacky film on my skin and I'm not keen on the scent. The full-size version is £27, which seems incredibly pricey for a brand I've never heard of! I think I'm going to stick to my cheap and cheerful Garnier body lotions thanks...

Next is a sample size of the Doucce Punk Volumizer Mascara, which is another Birchbox exclusive; I have tried this item out and I have to say that I really like it. It has a huge wand, which initially put me off, however it's easy to use and it adds both volume and length to my lashes. I've had it on for a while now and there has been no smudging either, which is always a bonus. Also, it's a pretty decent size for a sample. The full-sized version costs £18. The last item was the Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in Vanilla Frosting. This item is full-sized with an RRP of £14.49. I would comment on the product itself, however the packaging is incredibly fiddly and I haven't actually been able to prise it open yet - I'm scared of pulling too hard and ending up with a white, shimmery mess everywhere! One thing I hate about mineral products like this is that they're simply not very practical, especially when you're as clumsy as I am! However, the colour does look really pretty and like it could be a good inner corner/brownbone highlight.

All in all, I'm not quite sure about how I feel. It goes without saying that the boxes are really good value for money if you're a beauty junkie and like trying out new things from a whole host of brands. I think that beauty subscription services like Birchbox are a great way to do this. I'm torn because I love trying new products, but I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed by the products included - there are probably 3 products that I won't use and only a couple that I really love. I think I'd enjoy it more if some items from more well-known brands were included as well, as the only brand I had heard of was ModelCo! However, I am sure that Birchbox carefully pick the items that they put in these boxes and obviously not everything in each box is going to work for every subscriber.


Do you subscribe to Birchbox/another beauty subscription service - what do you think of them? Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below! X


Friday, 2 June 2017

MAY FAVOURITES

May was a bit of a busy one for me, but enjoyable all the same! It was my birthday month and it was lovely to celebrate with my friends and family. The UK was also blessed with a spot of beautiful weather (over now obviously!) which was well needed; there's nothing quite like spending a day relaxing outside with a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other!


My first few favourites from the month of May are beauty related. The Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation is something I've been using for probably a few months now, but in May I really discovered how much I love it! It feels lightweight on your face, which means it's perfect for the summer months, and it provides light to medium coverage. The only downside is that the shade range is quite limited, but if you can get your hands on a shade that matches your skin then I would definitely recommend it!



I've also been loving the Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk. I've always been a bit scared (read: terrified) by the thought of fake tan all thanks to an incident when I was at high school and applied it only to wake up resembling an oompa loompa the next day. When I think of fake tan, I think of a horrible, orange, streaky mess. However, this gradual tan from Bondi Sands has changed my mind completely. It's incredibly easy to use as you use it exactly how you would use a moisturiser - I apply it all over my body after I have exfoliated in the shower and the job's done. It looks very natural and develops quickly for a gradual tan; I can apply it to clean skin at night and then wake up the next morning looking all bronzed up!



I don't always use bronzer, but because I've been applying fake tan more regularly, I've definitely needed it to make sure my face and the rest of my body match. I've used the NARS Laguna Bronzer religiously for years, but I recently stumbled upon the Look Good Feel Better Angled Contour Brush to apply it with and I love it. Look Good Feel Better is a charity that supports women and teenagers with cancer and for every brush/set you buy, an 8-12% donation will be made. All of the brushes are allergy free, cruelty free and incredibly soft! This brush is perfect for contouring and applying bronzer and it definitely rivals some of my more expensive brushes in terms of quality.

Again, the Too Faced Hangover Primer is something that I've been using for a few months now, but since I've not written about it on my blog yet, I thought that it deserved an honourable mention. My skin is classed as combination, as I have an oily t-zone but incredibly dry and dehydrated patches around my eyebrows, nose and cheeks. I find that this primer is perfect for my skin, as it doesn't add to the oiliness yet it still hydrates the dry patches, providing a smooth, even base for my make-up. It smells amazing and soaks into your skin very quickly. It's on the pricier end of the scale, however I've had mine for nearly 4 months now and it's still going strong despite using it each time I do my make-up.


Moving onto my non-beauty favourites from May, the first is the Netflix series 'Girlboss', which tells the story of Sophia Amoruso's struggle and success in setting up Nasty Gal. Nowadays, I find it difficult to sit down and watch a series, however this one had me addicted from beginning to end. It was really interesting to watch something where the protagonist is actually represented as being quite selfish and unlikeable, yet I still found myself rooting for her throughout! Another season, please, Netflix!

Image from Luci's Morsels
Image from Pinch of Yum
A few posts ago, I talked about my 123 Goals (read here). I have to admit that I don't know how well this system has worked as I don't think there has been a single week since where I have achieved all 3 goals! I have, however, been whipping things up in the kitchen more often. I've really enjoyed cooking and trying out new recipes and I've come across a few really delicious ones that I wanted to mention. The first is an incredibly sinful yet divine Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake; this recipe makes A LOT of cake, yet all of it was gone within a few days! I've also been loving this Pico de Gallo recipe; it's amazing to have with a Mexican meal such as fajitas or burritos, but just as good as a dip with some salted crisps. When I made it, I added slightly less garlic (I am a fan of garlic usually but 5 cloves seemed excessive), less lime juice and swapped the cilantro out for coriander and it tasted great.

 My final two favourites from the month of May are both book related. You might not know this, but I am a complete bookworm; if I'm not busy, you'll probably find me curled up somewhere with a book in hand. I've been known to read books in entire sittings, from beginning to end with no breaks. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is a book that I didn't read in a single sitting, only because it was so intense and so beautifully written that I almost didn't want it to end. It tells the story of two different women, Mariam and Laila, living in Kabul, Afghanistan in the late 20th century. I didn't know much about Afghanistan before reading this book, but I was truly fascinated by the way that Hosseini painted the country with his words; he did this so well that it was incredibly easy to conjure up the images in my head and it was almost as if I was there enduring the terror with Mariam and Laila. It was a very moving novel and I'm sure it will stay with me for a long time.

Last but not least is a website that I've been using a lot during the past few weeks. World of Books is home to over 2 million second-hand books, most of which are around £2.59 and with free delivery to the UK. Because I get through books so quickly, it seems silly to buy books at full price, so I was so happy to discover this website! I bought 7 books and with a 10% discount (using the code WORLDOFBOOKS10) they totalled just under £18. They all arrived within a week and most were in excellent condition despite being second-hand. I'd really recommend it to anyone looking for some new books to read - A Thousand Splendid Suns is currently on there for £2.59! You can thank me later...

So, there we have it, my May favourites. I'm sorry that my posting has been a bit here and there; to be quite honest with you, it's almost like I forget that I have a blog sometimes and then all of a sudden I remember and have the urge to write a whole post in one sitting!


Do you have any favourites from the month of May? I'd love to know what they are - leave me a comment below! X

Saturday, 20 May 2017

SONGS FOR WINDING DOWN


It goes without saying that I'm a huge music lover, so it only felt right that this had some place on my blog. I spend far too much time scrolling Spotify and creating playlists! 

The playlist below is one of my favourites at the moment; it's perfect for the end of the day when you just need some relaxation time. 



I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I do! Let me know what your favourites are and whether you have any tracks you think would fit in well with this playlist. Xx

Friday, 19 May 2017

THE EMBROIDERY EDIT


Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month or so, you'll probably have noticed that shops have been taken over by rails upon rails of beautiful embroidered garments and accessories. Is this a bad thing? Definitely not in my eyes! I'm yet to invest in any embroidered pieces but wanted to put together a post sharing my favourite embroidered clothes, shoes and accessories from a range of different shops. So, if you're a fellow fan of embroidery in fashion, then carry on reading...



Sunday, 23 April 2017

MY WEEKLY 123 GOALS

On Thursday, the day finally came around to leave France after spending a lovely 3 weeks with my boyfriend. It was so difficult, especially considering that I won't be able to see him again until July.

As you can probably imagine, it's always a really emotional time for me, but I always try to put a positive spin on things by giving myself new goals to work towards in the time that we're apart. For me, having something to work towards is a massive motivator and I find that without this, I feel very lost and almost as if I have no purpose.

On my flight home I was thinking of simple goals that I could set myself each week that would improve both my physical and mental health. Enter 123 Goals: I have no idea if this is already an existing thing, but if it is I haven't ever heard of anything like it before. It basically means that I'm going to set myself three different activities that I will do once, twice or three times a week. I'm hoping that this will be a manageable way for me to try new things without getting too overwhelmed.

Here are the three goals that I've set myself for each week...


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

5 TIPS TO COPE WITH TRAVEL ANXIETY



Being in a long-distance relationship means that I consider myself to be a pretty well seasoned traveller now, but it doesn't mean that travelling is easy for me; in fact, it makes me anxious without fail every single time. I worry about it for days and days beforehand and I don't feel truly at ease until I've arrived at my destination. However, over time, I've learned a few different ways to try and decrease these feelings of dread and impending doom. Here are my top five tips for coping with your travel anxiety...


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

9 BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT I'LL ALWAYS REPURCHASE




 I have a rather large collection of make-up and other beauty items, but sadly a lot of it doesn't get used very often as I tend to stick to the same items on a day-to-day basis. Because of this, there's a lot of products that I have grown to love and that I feel I'm ever so slightly attached to - here are 9 beauty products that I'll always repurchase...



Sunday, 26 March 2017

LOSING MOMENTUM AND GAINING INSPIRATION



Dear Reader, I have a terrible confession to make. I forgot I had a blog.